Typhoon Series 5

For the predicted light conditions, and the needs of six competing divisions, race officer Inge Strompf took a while to brief her team before venturing out into Port Shelter on Sunday, the 25th of July, to lay the marks for the islands courses in Race 5 of the UK Sailmakers Typhoon Series 2021.

Hebe One dropped anchor northeast of Shelter Island and, in the sweltering heat and haze, the RO finalized her choices for courses, taking into account the wind readings submitted by the various support craft inside and outside Port Shelter. No windward mark was laid.

On the committee boat, a southeasterly of 4.5 knots was blowing. Fifty-two boats were counted and the first warning signal sounded at 1050.

The IRC A division was given Course 106 and, at 1100, eight sleek racing machines cleared the line (although Zannekin’s bowsprit came within millimeters of an OCS). In store for them was a starboard rounding of East Nine Pin, a port rounding of a Ma Tsai Pai Mark, Port Shelter Mark (s), then Steep Island (s), Trio (p) and a finish off Little Palm Beach. A distance of some 18 nautical miles.

Five minutes later, the wind had died to 2.5 knots but the RO pressed on saying “they are still moving” as 11 boats in IRC B crossed the line. H3O was too eager and had to return (and later retired – not a good day for the MC31). The RO had chosen Course 107 for this no-less- competitive division and off they went to North Nine Pin leaving it to port, Trio Island to starboard, then Port Shelter Mark (s), Trio (p), Table (p) and a finish off Little Palm Beach.

Approximately 5nm shorter than Course 106.

IRC C started third at 1110 and, by this time, the wind had swung a good 40 degrees to the south.

Arcturus was over and returned while Dexter II led the 10-strong division away, also on the 13nm Course 107.

The next start (1115) was for the three J-80s and 10 HKPN A boats. The wind was holding at around 3.5 knots and the boats headed off on Course 107, Bits & Pieces leading the pack.

Minutes later, with the starting sequence for HKPN B underway, the wind died and an AP was raised at 1118. The nine cruisers appeared to be struggling in the light airs and the RO decided a delayed start would be a better option although, 10 minutes later, the wind was barely 1 knot!

But the delay gave time to relay the line as the wind had swung back to 150 degrees. At 1140, in 5.6 knots, the horn sounded for the second-to-last start. Ma Cherie 2e came about at the pin, got into a tussle with La Vida Loca and Gecko, and retired minutes later.

HKPN B had been given Course 30 which takes in Bluff Island (p), the Inner Port Shelter Mark (s), Ma Tsai Pai Mark (p) and a finish off Little Palm Beach – a distance of 11 nautical miles.

Last off at 1145 was the single entry in the Short-handed Class – disappointing, really, given the amount of lobbying these sailors have done for their own category. In future, it would be good to see more short-handers taking up the call.

Out in open water and around the islands, criss-crossing boats were enjoying increased winds and, at 12:58:59, Alpha Plus was first boat home followed by the other TP52, Phoenix, at 13:09:39. On handicap, the IRC A finishing order was Witchcraft 1st, Alpha Plus 2nd and Zannekin 3rd. Phoenix slumped to last place.

Then, in IRC B, misinterpretation of the Hebe Haven Yacht Club’s recently-printed Standard Sailing Instructions led to a dramatic final outcome. Course 107 requires a port rounding of Trio Island yet eight boats chose to regard it as a passing mark. In an annex to the listed courses, the Instructions read ‘All marks for all courses, except starting and finishing marks, shall be rounding marks.’ Thus, Daydream, Kiasu!, Juggerknot, Rampage, Kingsman, Intrigue Plus, Outrageous and Bad Idea Bears on Full Tilt, were blown out at a protest hearing on Wednesday, the 28th of July.

That left protest instigator, Nightshift in 1st place on handicap and Tipsy Easy in 2nd.

Things were better in IRC C with Dexter II putting in a consistent performance to claim both line and handicap honours. Goddess chalked up a 2nd and Whiskey Jack a 3rd. Talkinghead retired.

Likewise the J-80 division where Footloose took line and handicap honours with Jelik 7 in 2nd and Baring Asia 1 in 3rd. There were only three boats competing in this category.

Four boats in HKPN A suffered a similar DSQ for not rounding Trio Island. Bad luck Bits & Pieces, Scintilla, Minnie the Moocher and AmaZe. This left the trimaran, Bluefin, to claim victory on handicap. Protest instigator, Temujin, filled the 2nd slot and Ichiban 3rd. Ricochet and Baring Asia 2 retired.

Foxzhead claimed line and handicap honours in the HKPN B division, followed by Baby Beluga and La Vida Loca. Scrumpy and La Folia retired. In the Short-handed Class, Miss LeVa finished at 13:51:30 to record an elapsed time of two hours, six minutes and 30 seconds.

There was no formal prize-giving but sponsors’ beers were available in the Garden Bar.

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